Happy Saint David’s Day

Happy Saint David’s Day and happy publication day to me for the launch of the first book in the new edition of my Conquest trilogy set in 12th century Wales!

Saint David was a renowned teacher and an eloquent preacher. He practised asceticism, encouraging the avoidance of meat and beer. He founded monasteries across southwest Wales, including the spot where Saint David’s Cathedral stands.  His symbol is the white dove on his shoulder, which appeared during one of his miracles. The image shown is from a stained glass window at Our Lady and Saint Non’s Chapel on a spectacular headland a few miles from Saint David’s. The chapel was built near an ancient ruin. Saint Non may have been David’s mother and it may have been his birthplace.

Saint David was canonised in the 12th century, during the period of Welsh resistance to Norman rule. He probably died on 1 March 589. His shrine is in Saint David’s Cathedral but the site was regularly raided and the shrine stripped by Vikings throughout the Middle Ages. The Welsh poet Rhygyfarch wrote a life of Saint David. One of his poems lamenting the Norman conquest of Wales features in my novel: ‘The people and the priest are despised by the word, heart, and work of the Normans. Families do not now take delight in offspring; the heir does not hope for paternal estates’.

Saint David’s Day is celebrated by wearing daffodils and leeks, the symbols of Wales, and by eating traditional Welsh food, such as cawl or Welsh rarebit. Saint David’s Day parades are held today in cities in Wales, such as Cardiff and Swansea. 

My novel, Conquest I: Daughter of the Last King, is published today (in hardback, paperback and ebook) by Meanda Books, with a new cover designed by Jessica Bell

Conquest II: The Drowned Court is published in April and Conquest III: The Anarchy follows on 1 May. The trilogy centres on the turbulent life of the Welsh noblewoman, Nest ferch Rhys, who was one of the (many) mistresses of the Norman king, Henry I, and whose brother, Gruffudd ap Rhys, rebelled against Norman rule.

The image of Saint David is from a stained glass window at St Non’s ChapelSt David’s by Llywelyn2000. CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=106639347.

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